Franny Choi


Franny Choi is the author of several books, including, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019), Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), and a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She was a 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow and has also received awards from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Princeton University’s Lewis Center. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, the Atlantic, Paris Review, and elsewhere. She co-hosts the Poetry Foundation’s podcast VS (it’s pronounced “verses”—get it?) alongside Danez Smith and is currently an Arthur Levitt, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Williams College. Source

I Guess By Now I Thought I’d Be Done With Shame

but I opened my coat to prove a point

and kept coming home with colds.

I thought I was done stuffing fists

in my mouth to mute the sound.

Done lying about what trails my throat

had charted. I practiced looking tall

men in the eye, spoke loudly,

pronounced every ‘R.’

I chopped wood at midnight.

I left the shower and kept

singing. I sang about my body

like I was proud. I was proud.

I was – My legs churned the poolwater.

I clamped silicone and didn’t cry.

Learned the names of oils. Asked

for another finger. I cried. Swore

to drown before saying sorry.

I sang about my death

like I was over it. Ground

my face into the soil, like I was ready

to shave it off. I stopped shaving.

Told a joke in the voice of a stupid

girl. I waved a flag of my own bones.

I threw my sordid liver at a man –

think fast – then acted surprised,

again, when he caught it in his teeth.

Not everyone who speaks this way

is lying. Somewhere,

there is a version of me that isn’t neck-

deep in her invented filth.

Somewhere a woman is walking

barefoot through the woods,

trailing white linen, walking without

a dog snapping at her heels.

Both of us are singing.

Both of us are bragging

in the past tense.

One of us is still here.

That much, I guess,

at least, is true.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Death & Loss

Doubt & Fear

Mental Health

Literary Devices:

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses

Media Res

a literary work that begins in the middle of the action (from the Latin “into the middle of things)


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”